AUGUSTA — When it comes to throwing strikes, few pitchers in the state can match Erskine’s Shyler Scates.

The senior right-hander displayed his outstanding control Thursday as he led the Eagles to a 1-0 win against Cony in an Eastern Maine Class A quarterfinal game before a crowd of about 400 at Morton Field.

Sixth-seeded Erskine (11-6) advances to Saturday’s semifinal against No. 2 Lewiston while No. 3 Cony finishes at 10-7.

Scates allowed just a pair of singles and did not walk a batter. Of the 64 pitches he threw, 52 were strikes and he went to just one two-ball count.

“I knew if we played defense and I kept the ball in the strike zone and didn’t walk anybody, then we would have a chance to win,” Scates said.

Keeping the ball in the strike zone hasn’t been a problem for Scates, who has walked just three batters in 68 innings this season. His effort was nearly matched by Cony’s Ryan Edwards, who allowed two hits, walked one and struck out five.

“Both pitchers pitched well,” said Erskine coach Lars Jonassen, whose team lost both regular-season meetings to Cony. “You’ve got to give Edwards credit, he hung in there. We just got the run. Frankly, I thought it was just another example of Shyler Scates.”

The Eagles scored in the fourth inning. With two out, Ryan Pulver, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second. Tom Grady followed with a base hit to right-center to score Pulver and give Scates all the support he needed. Edwards fed Grady a steady stream of curve balls in his first at-bat, but it was a fastball he hit for his single.

“I left it right here,” Edwards said, holding his hand chest high.

Edwards allowed both hits in the fourth inning, the first to John Suga, who was erased on Pulver’s ground ball. Scates gave up a single to Chandler Shostak in the first inning and another to Chase Shostak in the seventh. Three Erskine errors gave the Rams a couple of chances to score.

Edwards reached on an error to open the second inning and moved up a base on Jordan Ellis’ sacrifice bunt. But Scates got leadoff batter Zack Lachance on a fly ball to right and Ben Lucas on a groundout to end the threat. In the fifth, Chase Shostak reached on an error and moved to third on a bunt and a groundout. Ellis followed with a high fly to deep right that Sean Cabaniss appeared to misjudge, but he recovered in time to make the catch in front of the wall.

“He’s got great footwork, that’s why we put him there,” Jonassen said.

The Rams got three outstanding defensive plays, one from Chandler Shostak deep in the hole at short in which he nipped Brenden Wood by a step at first. And diving catches in right from Ellis off Suga to end the fourth inning and another diving grab from Simon Yorks in left to open the fifth.

“I’m very proud of how we responded to adversity,” said Cony coach Don Plourde, whose team began the season 0-4. “The future looks bright.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]


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